How food shaped an empire

the hungry empireThe Hungry Empire – how Britain’s quest for food shaped the modern world (Bodley Head)

Lizzie Collingham

The theme here is how Britain’s search for foods such as sugar, pepper, tea, rice, cod and more was behind the rise of the empire. This sounds fascinating, although in a review in The Observer last month, Joanna Blythman writes that this history does not put the accompanying slavery into context: “Unfortunately, Collingham’s matter-of-fact writing, while undeniably predicated on immaculate research, doesn’t demonstrate this awareness.”

This is a shame, she writes, because otherwise the book offers a colourful history that illuminates the roots of contemporary diets.

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